And many thought Bill Gross was only posturing when he said he is getting the hell out of dodge. Based on still to be publicly reported data by Pimco's flagship Total Return Fund, the world's largest bond fund, in the month of January, has taken its bond holdings to zero (and -14% on a Duration Weighted Exposure basis). The offset, not surprisingly, is cash. After sporting $28.6 billion in "government related" securities, TRF dropped to $0.0, while its cash holdings surged from $11.9 billion to a whopping $54.5 billion (based on total TRF holdings of $236.9 billion as of February 28). This is the most cash the flagship fund has ever held, and the lowest amount in Treasury holdings since January 2009 before it was made clear that the Fed was going to adjust QE1 to include Treasurys in addition to Mortgage Backed Securities. PIMCO's Treasury holdings peaked in June 2010 at $147.4 billion and have declined consistently ever since. And while we expected that the spike in MBS holdings (at times on margin) was indicative of an expectation that QE3 would monetize mortgage backed securities, the ongoing decline in that asset class now leads us to believe that Bill Gross is now convinced there will be no QE3 at all, at least based on his just putting his money where his monthly pen is! And if Bill Gross, the most connected person to the upcoming actions by the Fed, believes there is no more quantitative easing, it is really time to get the hell out of dodge in all security classes - bonds, and most certainly, equities.
Note the plunge in Treasury holdings in the chart below (blue line), offset by the surge in cash (dotted pink line). Time to panic.
And when it comes to duration adjusted holdings, something wierd is going on: PIMCO has increased its holdings of securities with a 0-1 duration to 14%, quite possibly the highest ever, and certainly the most to where our records go back. The effective duration on the entire portfolio dropped to 3.89, the lowest since December 2008.